About the Author (Paul)


Hi, my name is Paul Cantrell. I'm a software engineer specializing in operating system design and development. For the last 29 years, I've worked on operating systems, including TOPS-10, VMS, Unix (about 20 flavors) Linux, and several embedded real time systems.

When I'm not working on computers, I'm usually riding motorcycles, shooting competitive NRA High Power Rifle, taking pictures, or flying. I learned to fly at Aviation Training Academy in Sterling, Massachusetts, and instructed there part time until they closed. At that point a friend named Ray Lange, who had trained for his commercial helicopter pilot license with me, asked whether I'd like to help him start a new school. With the help of his partner, Barry Coldwell, the three of us started Langwell Helicopters with a single R22 at the Minute Man Air Field in Stow Massachusetts. That was in January of 1991. At first, I was the only instructor which was pretty crazy trying to work 2 full time jobs. Ray got his CFI rating (Certified Flying Instructor) so he could take over the bulk of the instructing work.

Eventually, Ray asked me to start a branch of the school at the Lawrence Municipal Airport, in North Andover, Massachusetts. We had a single Robinson R22 based there. After about a year and a half, Langwell decided they were not making enough money to justify the extra aircraft, and pulled out of Lawrence. I made a lot of friends there, plus I remain convinced that the location is a good one for a helicopter school, so I leased an R22 and started my own school, "All Star Helicopters".

I ran All Star for a year which was a very interesting time. What I learned from it was that I like flying a lot more than paying bills, dealing with insurance companies, and worrying about how to get the helicopter repaired in time for the next flight! In short I learned that I'm more interested in the flying than running a business. So I closed All Star in the fall of '96 and started flying for Ivan at Boston Helicopters. I'll try to get a few pictures scanned in so you can see what it's like...

If you need an instructor / instrument instructor in the Boston area, feel free to email me. I'm current in both Robinson and Bell helicopters, and am available for instrument instruction / competency checks, as well as limited primary VFR instruction (I simply don't have the time to be doing much primary instruction these days).

About the home page

This home page was one of the first on the Internet. I don't even remember exactly when I wrote it, but it was probably 1994. When I wrote it, there were few tools for producing web sites, so all the html was written by hand. That explains why the site does not have a lot of the fancier html features that people are used to today. However, the site is functional, so I plan to not substantially change the formatting in the near future. If you have design/layout issues with the site, I'd be happy to hear about them.

I wanted to provide a fairly complete html resource on helicopters. So far, helicopter aerodynamics (which borrows very heavilly from a government textbook) is about 75% complete. I'll fill in other sections of the home page before I go back to complete aerodynamics.

The textual description of piloting is about 50% complete, but almost no pictures have been taken yet.

The mechanical description of helicopter components hasn't been written, but pictures have been taken of some components. I've thrown some pictures of tail rotors in as a teaser..

A short section is complete on what to look for in a school and an instructor. The FAQ (0% written) is expected to mention some common questions such as how much will it cost, and how long will it take.

The start on helicopter operating handbooks has been made with some interesting scans of Height Velocity curves, plus an exploded view of a Boeing Vertol CH-47 Chinook tandem rotor helicopter. I've also included the complete R22 pilot operating handbook. This was later removed at the request of Robinson Helicopters, because it is their copyrighted material. You can order a Pilot Operating Handbook from them at the Robinson web site

I've come to realize that I'm working on something that's very extensive. I just keep plugging away at it, adding to it in little spurts.

I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions or corrections. You can email me at paul at copters.com

I got help from...

my friend Kent Blackett. Besides owning his own scanner, Kent was an excellent amature photographer. He helped me take the pictures in the "mechanical" section, as well as scanning in a lot of material for me. Kent was an airplane pilot, having owned at one point 3 different Cessna airplanes at the same time: a 172, a 182RG, and a 310 twin, all of them in gorgeous condition. He flew out of Marlboro Airport which is 1680 feet long, with high obstacles at both ends. Kent died a few years ago, but I'll always be grateful to him for (re)introducing me to aviation in general, and specifically helicopters.

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Paul Cantrell
paul at copters.com (replace " at " with "@" to email me - this avoids SPAMMERS I hope)